Thursday, April 14, 2011

Jillian's Visit to the Allergist

There have been several concerning incidents where Jillian has broken out in a mysterious rash.  The first incident happened when she was six month old.  I had received a frantic phone call from daycare saying that Jillian had broken out in a horrible rash, was scratching at her temples viciously, and was crying so hard she had some difficulty catching her breath.  Jeff and I were both scared to death and immediately picked her up from daycare and whisked her off to the ER.  As fast as we got her there, the rash had already disappeared and Jillian had calmed down.  We never got a straight answer from the ER doctors on what could have caused Jillian to have such a reaction.  We did happen to try a different version of Jillian's formula that day, however, the doctor didn't think that it would cause such a severe reaction since both types of formula were made by the same company, Enphamil.  It was frustrating not knowing what could have caused our baby to react to something so severely.  We just continued to pray that it wouldn't happen again.

The second incident happened a month ago.  I was in the process of transitioning Jillian from formula to regular milk.  I initially tried giving Jillian milk outright in a sippy cup, however, my picky girl would not have it.  I decided to try the transition method where you mix milk with formula, slowly increasing the milk to formula ratio every couple of days.  I had just increased Jillian's intake of regular milk from 1 ounces to 2 ounces which seemed to be going well.  Then I got the call from daycare that Jillian had another rash all over her torso accompanied by a fever.  We needed to come get her and get her checked out by a pediatrician.  I did happen to notice a slight rash on Jillian that morning, however, it had disappeared by the time we arrived at daycare.  I asked them to keep an eye on her in case it returned.  And sure enough, it did.  Our pediatrician was nice enough to see us right away even though she was just about to wrap up her last appointment.  She examined Jillian and explained that even though she had a fever, the rash looked to be an allergic reaction.  The fever could have been caused something completely unrelated like a virus or even teething.  So we left with a referral to a pediatric Allergist and instructions to call her if the rash returned.  I felt awful that both rash incidents happened while Jillian was at daycare.  The unfortunate thing too was that both rashes faded by the time I had gotten to her so I didn't feel like I could clearly explain to the doctor what happened during both occasions.  I only had cell phone pictures to show them that Jillian's daycare teacher's had taken, which I was extremely grateful to them for taking. 

There was one other time where Jillian had broken out in a mysterious rash.  Luckily, she and I were both at home.  We were changing her out of her clothes and into her pajamas and I noticed a strange rash all over her torso again.  We tried thinking about what she had been in contact with that day and what new foods she had eaten.  We were in the process of introducing Jillian to new and different foods since she had just started eating table food.  Jillian had spent the day with Jeff's Mom since it was her day to watch Jillian.  We found out that the only thing out of the ordinary was that Jeff's Mom had Jillian try scrambled eggs for the first time.  The logical answer was that Jillian was having a reaction to the eggs so we decided no more eggs for Jillian for awhile!

After seeing Jillian so upset and uncomfortable during each of these rashes, you can imagine how upset I was when I found out that I couldn't go to the long awaited appointment to the Allergist.  The appointment was two weeks ago during the peak of my illness.  I could barely get out of bed the morning of her appointment.  We had been waiting for this appointment for three weeks and couldn't bare the thought of cancelling it just because I was sick.  So Jeff took her while I rested at home. 

Do you want to know what my sweet girl is allergic to???  Milk, Eggs and Peanuts!!!!!!!!!!!  My poor baby, we are both very upset that she has to deal with this.    On the bright side, the peanut allergy is mild, only a 35% risk.  The Eggs and Milk are more serious coming in at a 90% and 80% risk, respectively.   I felt so bad for Jeff too, what a time he had at the Allergist.  At first, the Allergist was uncooperative and didn't even want to administer the allergy tests since Jillian had a fever during one of her reactions.  He said it sounds more like a virus and didn't even know why he was even there.  However, Jeff insisted doing the test since he had made the trip downtown and was already there.  So the doctor tested her for milk, eggs, peanuts, cats, dogs, and dust mites.  After confirmation of the three food allergies, Jeff had to take Jillian across town to a lab where they needed to draw some blood to confirm the severity of the allergies.   Jillian was not a cooperative patient and completely fought the nurse who was trying to draw blood.  On top of everything else, Jillian had a major blow out inside the lab, probably from nerves, and poor Jeff had to try to find a decent location to change her.   I just felt awful that I couldn't be there for either of them during this whole fiasco.

See the little red mosquito like bumps in the picture above?  Those are the allergic reactions.  So where do we go from here?  I have an appointment with Jillian's pediatrician next week to talk about what kind of milk I can give Jillian.  Jillian is still on her Enphamil formula for now which has always agreed with her.  Obviously, eggs and peanuts are out indefinitely.  The allergist did mention that most kids do grow out of milk and egg allergies by the time they are four so here's to hoping that happens.  For now, I have to keep Jillian away from straight milk, eggs, and peanuts.  The interesting thing about this is that Jillian still eats dairy products like cheese with no adverse reactions. She can also eat baked goods like cake and cookies without having any reaction from the cooked eggs.  So heres to hoping that her allergy isn't that severe, I really hope she doesn't have live with food allergies her entire life.  The letter we received in the mail this week from the Allergist confirming Jillian's bloodwork mentioned that even though she has a clear allergy to all three of these foods, we do not need to carry an Epipen since her allergies are not life threatening.  Praise God!

I would love to hear from Mom's who have dealt with food allergies, especially with milk, eggs, or peanuts.  Any suggestions?  Did they eventually grow out of it?  Even though the peanut allergy is the least severe, for some reason that one is the most scary to me.  I would really appreciate any words of advice!!! I am really worried and this all so new to me.


  1. I am so sorry. Allergies are hard, but not impossible! My youngest is allergic to wheat, eggs, and peanuts. We found out when she was 3 months old and she is now 3 1/2. We have a zero tolerance in our home. She hasn't had these food baked or plain or anything. She hasn't outgrown them, yet. I think there is a huge learning curve, but it gets easier and it could always be WAY worse!

  2. Sorry to hear this. B has a life threatening peanut allergy and other non-life threatening allergies. We are zero tolerance. There's not a jar of peanut butter in this, and anything made with peanuts is not welcome. B also was taught to be an advocate for himself - he knew not to eat treats other kids brought to school b/c they might have been made in a kitchen with peanuts, etc. I think the key for him growing up - and us now as a family - is that B is responsible for his allergy. He was taught very early that he can't rely on other people to take care of his allergy, and he's doing just fine!

  3. Out son isn't allergic, but was having a ton of ear infections. I read online that cow's milk can cause bacteria or something and lead to ear infections. After some research I learned that almond milk has the necessary nutrients (it's actually healthier) as milk, but without the adverse affects of cow's milk. So, I'd suggest almond milk. We buy unsweetened and Manning sucks it down.

  4. Oh, I'm sorry. That test is a nightmare. My son had it done because his blood work (at age three) showed allergies but the prick test ruled the opposite which was good in our favor. He is allergic to cats and has seasonal allergies.

    Several of my friend's children have allergies. One grew out of peanut allergy by age three or four. She took the Peanut challenge at Duke.

    Another friend's daughter who was allergic to both milk and eggs, did grow out of the milk allergy by two going on three, but she still has the egg allergy, and her egg allergy is very severe (needs epi pen). Egg is challenging because so many things have eggs so you are lucky that her reaction is not as severe.

    Good luck. Poor Jillian and her tests.

  5. Karen
    I have so many friends with kids with allergies so if you ever want to email me with specific questions please do so.
    We see the best allergist (he's nationally renowned) in Columbus so I'm so thankful.
    First of all just to let you know that while it's likely she will outgrow the eggs and milk allergy...that if you notice more issues after she's 3 to get the testing done again. A child can get false negatives before age middle child had the testing at 15 months and then had to have it done again.

    I don't know if Jillian can have almonds but almond milk is a great milk...that is what I have. Cow's milk was never meant for humans any how so I'm seeing (reading books, stories, etc) that it can really have issues on people.
    It seems like she might just have it in it's pure form so that you won't have to worry about milk proteins in foods that could cause issues...if not ask the doctor what all you're supposed to avoid.

    I have heard that reactions can get worse which each introduction so if you ever feel concerned don't hesitate to ask for the epi pen.

    Also, the perfect measure bendadryl is great to put in the diaper bag, purse in case she has a reaction. I don't know if it's for Jillian's age so I'd read on the package...but it's great to keep around.

    My babies don't have a lot of allergies but they get a lot of rashes too...especially at Jillian's age so I think that they have some sensitivities.

    I hope that you're feeling better.


  6. Anonymous8:09 AM

    I work at an allergist and we see this all the time! Food is a great website! Go check it out. Always carry an epi pen just in case and remember there is always hope. Any questions just email me. I have alot of info about it!


  7. Oh Karen! You poor thing! I had to take Hunter to the allergist (downtown too- I wonder if its the same doctor) and go through the whole procedure. we were there for what seemed like forever- and tt was fine with me taking Hunter- at 13 years old. I couldnt imagine having to entertain Jillian and keep her happy. I do want to get Owen in though because I feel like he has some allergies so we will see. I think i'll bring it up at our next appointment. Email me when you have time. Lets catch up!

  8. My nephew had a severe egg and peanut allergy and has since recently grown out of both.

    I also have an egg allergy and so does my SIL, so it was never a huge deal in terms of the eggs, but I agree with Emily that depending on the severity, you may just want to not have those items in your home at all, and to teach Jillian early that she needs to advocate for herself!

  9. bless her little heart!!!!! she has had a time lately with her ears and now this! :( i hope and pray she grows out of it!

  10. Bless your heart and hers:( my sister's son is allergic to peanut and eggs!! They say he will eventually grow out of the egg allergy but not the peanut:( They make it work and she is now on twitter so I can give your her name and you can chat with her about it!! He is now three years old so they have been dealing with it for a couple of years!!

  11. I had the same thing happen to me when I was a baby. Rash, itching, everything. I'm 27 now and still can't drink milk. However, I can eat cheese with no problem or most anything dairy with no serious problems (except ice cream or anything made with milk). I just don't generally feel well after I eat anything dairy so I choose not to eat most things that have it. I But there's lot of alternatives out there for people who can't process it!

  12. Oh my gosh, Karen! Poor sweet, Jillian! That's just awful! I remember when I was teaching the number of kids with allergies seemed to grow each year! Sorry that she has to deal with all this but so thankful that y'all finally have solved the mystery!

    Thinking of y'all!

    XO from GG to J

  13. oh Karen- welcome to the world of an allergic parent. Stephen is allergic to the same three things, its awful. Stephen has only had a reaction to milk so far and then the other were determined by the blood test. His milk reaction was much worse, sweeling up like a sumo wrestler!

  14. I feel her pain! And yours! Allergies suck. I'm very lucky that none of my allergies are of the food variety. I hope she grows out of them soon--and doesn't develop any new ones!

    I'm glad y'all were persisten with the docs too! It's so important--that's how we discovered the misters cancerous tumor. Doctors need to practice medicine based on medicine, not based on insurance!

  15. I'm glad you found out now while she is still young. My second oldest had the strange rashes too and no one told us to see an allergist. Finally, I took her to one and she is allergic to a whole bunch of things, so I feel your pain. Hang in there and keep us posted. ((Hugs)) and prayers. XOXO ~Liz

  16. Thank goodness you were on top of things here that didn't result into anything too serious. Your poor little Jillian, she is adorable.

    Considering her allergies if I were you I would stay away from any form of RED DYE. I noticed when my Son was Jillian's age that he too would develop a rash on his face, didn't take too long to realize it was the dye in the Juicy Juice. It wasn't until Kindergarten that I realized he not only had the allergy internally but external as well. He came home from school with red marker on his hand and turned into a walking hive that Benadryl couldn't "touch". He was on Steroids for a week to finally clear them up. Dye's are a bad thing for kids. He's now 9, still has the allergy but is old enough to know to stay far away.

    Read the ingredients on all soaps, shampoo, toothpaste, juice, Popsicles, snacks, etc.

    Best of luck! Oh, I am your newest follower from Relax and Surf Sunday. HAGW!

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